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Tech to offer new Design Studies, Animal Science degrees

Board of trustees meetingTennessee Tech will have two new degree programs, designed to enhance career opportunities for students.

New academic programs in Animal Science and Design Studies

The board learned that the Tennessee Higher Education Commission gave final approval in January for the new bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. Last December, the board approved this change, which elevated two existing concentrations (animal science and pre-veterinary) within the Bachelor of Science in Agriculture to a separate Bachelor of Science in Animal Science. This change was brought about by the increase in students in those concentrations (about a third of the total School of Agriculture enrollment). Students are already being actively recruited into the new degree program.

The board approved sending a similar modification proposal to THEC to establish a new bachelor’s degree in Design Studies by elevating two existing concentrations in the Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology (Housing and Design, and Merchandising and Design) into a separate Bachelor of Science in Design Studies, with two concentrations (Architecture and Interior Design, and Fashion Merchandising and Design). THEC approval for this modification is expected rapidly.

For both programs, the change to a new degree program will enhance the career opportunities of graduates, along with strengthening the visibility and marketability of the program to prospective students.   

Budget/Financial Information

Gov. Bill Lee’s proposed 2022-2023 budget includes more than $100 million for two major capital projects: the renovation of Johnson Hall/demolition of Foster Hall, and the construction of the new Advanced Construction and Manufacturing Engineering Building. Tech’s annual operating appropriation is slated to increase nearly $6.7 million. The budget proposal also includes non-recurring funds for Tech’s Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center ($1.2 million), Rural Reimagined ($1 million) and the Appalachian Center for Craft ($2.8 million).

Salary pool plan

The board approved a plan for the expected 4% salary pool increase. For 2022-2023, there will be recurring salary increases based on an employee’s 2021-2022 evaluation. Permanent benefitted employees with a satisfactory or better rating will be eligible for these raises, which will range from 1% to 7% to provide supervisors and department chairs with flexibility to reward performance. These increases will be effective July 1, pending approval of the governor’s budget by the state legislature.

Non-mandatory fees

The university announced a 5% increase in rates for the traditional style residence halls on campus for 2022-2023. This increase will not include New Hall North and South or Tech Village apartments. The increase is to cover inflationary costs and major maintenance and renovations to the older halls.

University Master Plan

The board approved a new master plan for the university, which is meant to be a vision of where the university is going and to help guide its evolution over time. The new plan is primarily focused on academic spaces, which are funded by the state, but also includes spaces for things like student services and athletics. While the board approved the master plan, it has not approved any future construction. All individual capital projects are brought before the board as they are proposed.

The master plan will next go to THEC for approval, before final approval by the Tennessee State Building Commission.

students at board of trustees meetingIn other business

·      The board heard from the Student Media Team, a group of current students that produced marketing videos promoting Cookeville to prospective students. Alex Rinks, a junior journalism major from Cookeville, Logen Borie, a senior communication studies major from Knoxville, and Seth Jones, a senior journalism major from Sparta, shared their experience in making the “Explore Cookeville” video series. Three additional students who worked on the series have graduated and are working in communications careers. This appearance was a continuation of an in-depth presentation about the university’s strategic marketing and recruitment efforts led by Chief Communication Officer Karen Lykins and Vice President for Enrollment Management and Career Placement Brandon Johnson.

·      Provost Lori Mann-Bruce announced to the board that two College of Engineering faculty – Arman Sargolzaei in mechanical engineering, and DuckBong Kim in manufacturing and engineering technology – have received the prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award, which will provide $500,000 in funding for each professor’s research, teaching and outreach efforts over the next five years. 

·      The board approved the $1 million Agricultural Technology Innovation Center as a disclosed project for the current fiscal year. The project, which will renovate a facility on the Shipley Farm to enhance agricultural engineering, is being funded by a $500,000 private gift along with matching funds from the university. 

·      The TTU Foundation will be purchasing nearly four acres of land and existing structures on the property in Crossville, Tennessee. This will be used for both research and instruction and house a recently acquired, large low-speed wind tunnel. 

Materials from today’s meeting and the webcast of the full board meeting are available at the board’s website, www.tntech.edu/board. 

The board’s next meeting is June 23, 2022.

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